Physical soccer play

Watauga’s Zade Tincher (19) is fouled by Gray Stone Day’s Luke Hill in the second half of the Pioneers’ 3-0 win.

BOONE — It took Watauga boys’ soccer team most of the first half to score a goal against visiting Gray Stone Day before finally breaking through with less than a minute in the first half.

The goal seemed to spark the Pioneers going into the second half, when they scored two more goals and finished with a 3-0 non-conference victory at foggy Jack Groce Stadium Aug. 24. Gray Stone Day School is a 1-A charter school in Misenheimer near Salisbury.

Hatch Sevensky put the Pioneers on the scoreboard with a goal scored with 44.8 seconds left in the first half. It gave Watauga a 1-0 halftime lead and a lift going into the second half.

“I felt like we were dominating play and possession,” Watauga coach Josh Honeycutt said. “We looked really good, but we were struggling to find the net. Getting one like that just before halftime definitely put us in a good spot and gave us some momentum.”

Watauga used that momentum to put pressure on Gray Stone Day goalkeeper Levi Rosser early in the second half. Colter Conway benefitted from that pressure and scored Watauga’s second goal with 38:34 left in the second half.

Shortly after Conway’s goal, Walker Franklin scored the Pioneers’ third goal on a penalty kick from about 15 yards away from the goal after he was fouled in the 18-yard box.

“We jumped right on them in the second half and put two up pretty quick,” Honeycutt said. “We made a couple of adjustments and moved a couple of guys around and we were just trying to see who could find the back of the net.”

Watauga possessed the ball in its 1-0 loss to Newton-Conover on Aug. 22, but struggled to get a solid shot against the Red Devils. Honeycutt said the adjustments were with players who are versatile and can play different spots on the field.

“We had some guys up top who haven’t played up top this year and they scored two quick goals,” Honeycutt said of the adjustments. “Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but we’re trying to figure it out and make little tweaks here and there in our starting lineup.”

Watauga gets another chance to tweak its lineup before hosting the Mellow Mushroom Invitational Aug. 30-31. The Pioneers face Asheville at 5 p.m., the team that beat the Pioneers 1-0 in the third round of the state 3-A 2018 playoffs.

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